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Archaeology Matters

UK Government finally ratifies the 1954 Hague Convention

The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) has received notification this morning (12 September) that the UK government has formally ratified the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and acceded to its two Protocols of 1954 and 1999.

This great news marks the culmination of efforts by the CBA and numerous other heritage bodies and many committed individuals.  The CBA has strongly supported the Bill since it was first proposed over ten years ago and has been active in briefing MPs and peers during the recent parliamentary debates.

The instruments of ratification and accession were formally deposited with UNESCO in Paris this morning by the UK Ambassador to UNESCO. Subject to confirmation by UNESCO, the Convention and Protocols will come into force for the UK on 12 December. The Government intends to bring the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Act 2017 into force on the same date.

CBA Director, Mike Heyworth said, “Through this Act, the UK has made a clear commitment to be an international leader in heritage protection and we are proud to have played a part in its passing into law. However, we now need to ensure that the Act is effectively implemented and related measures, such as the new Cultural Protection Fund, are sustained to ensure that this Act has a real long-term impact in the protection of cultural property. 

We now encourage the Government to turn its attention to heritage protection systems in England where there are a number of issues of concern that need to be addressed.”

The Palmyra Tétrapylon, one of the many irreplaceable pieces of "cultural property" lost during armed conflict.
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